2019 was a year of revelations for me, of heaviness and light-ness (today, that’s a word). My word that I used as a lens to learn through for the year was “again”.
Again… I learned that my edges are still too rough.
Again… I was encouraged to find that I am still passionate about loving people well.
Again… I ran into obstacles that I had to learn to maneuver myself.
Again… I failed at things I wish I could’ve succeeded at.
Again… God reminded me that there was still a grand plan.
Again… People disappointed me… and I disappointed them.
Again… I re-evaluated the past few years with disdain for my lack of hope.
Again… I’ve seen that people find it difficult to love me, and I let that wrongly jade my opinion of all people.
Again… I have re-dedicated my life to Jesus and his mission.
You see, the word “again” isn’t as shiny and mint as “gratitude” or “persistence” or “courage”. But it was my word. And it was my job to learn what God needed me to learn from it.
But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.Hosea 2:14-15
My main scripture was from Hosea, which is a story about infidelity and the choice to accept people back after they’ve given up on themselves. Hosea did that for his wife Gomer, and the Lord did that for Israel. And for you and me. Again.
The Lord has graciously given me back my vineyards (that can be my passion for my work, my hope, my outlook for the future, etc) and has torn the overgrown parts out of my tilled soil with a clean slate and a satchel of seeds. This means new work. It means new growth. It means new rainy seasons and new harvest seasons.
All in all, it means new. And it means moving forward.
Does that mean that I won’t take 2019 into 2020? No. But it does mean that I can leave the heavy stuff here, on the threshold of a new decade. I don’t have to bring it in.
My biggest win this year was realizing that I need to take care of my mental health more than I thought I did. (Yes, that’s a win for me!) I’ve learned so much about myself through the Enneagram test and the study I Said This You Heard That by Dr. Kathleen Edelman, and those results have taught me how to understand other people’s personalities and inabilities better too.
Being completely transparent, my biggest disappointments were arguing with people that I love so much, but with whom I communicate poorly. I have a tendency to rub people the wrong way by having an innate need to be understood. And when people refuse to meet me in the middle or communicate with me, I deepen the divide. (Not a good look, I know!)
To me, there’s a lot of weight to the end of the year….and not just because of the food from the holidays! But there’s weight in wondering, did I use this year well? Did it improve my goals, or stunt them? Was someone positively affected because of how I lived? If our answer is “no” to any of these questions, it outlines how we should focus our year to come.
So, my challenge for you these last few weeks: What did you learn this year? And what needs to change for the next one?
You can choose to go through 2020 as just another 365 days you have to push through, or you can make the choice to lean in and dig deeper into yourself, your faith, and your future.
It’s up to no one else but you.